A Melding of the Minds: When Primatology Meets Personality and Social Psychology

Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30302, USA.
Personality and Social Psychology Review (Impact Factor: 7.55). 05/2009; 13(2):129-47. DOI: 10.1177/1088868309335127
Source: PubMed


Social and personality psychology and behavioral primatology both enjoy long histories of research aimed at uncovering the proximate and ultimate determinants of primate-human and nonhuman-social behavior. Although they share research themes, methodologies, and theories, and although their studied species are closely related, there is currently very little interaction between the fields. This separation means that researchers in these disciplines miss out on opportunities to advance understanding by combining insights from both fields. Social and personality psychologists also miss the opportunity for a phylogenetic analysis. The time has come to integrate perspectives on primate social psychology. Here, the authors provide a historical background and document the main similarities and differences in approaches. Next, they present some examples of research programs that may benefit from an integrated primate perspective. Finally, the authors propose a framework for developing a social psychology inclusive of all primates. Such a melding of minds promises to greatly benefit those who undertake the challenge.

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    • "This is a logistical challenge, as such comparisons require a large sample sizes of individuals who are tested in multiple combinations, which can be difficult to obtain, particularly among larger species such as primates. Nonetheless, research in this area is ongoing and the extra level of control possible in non-human research may yield additional insights to and predictions about human behavior (Brosnan et al., 2009). "
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